4 Biggest Winners From 2023 NBA Trade Deadline

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The 2023 NBA trade deadline offered a little bit of everything. There were some blockbuster trades made involving All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant as the Brooklyn Nets closed the book on one of the most disappointing and underachieving chapters in NBA history.

It was a very busy deadline as every team outside of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls made at least one deal. An arms race ensued in the Western Conference, where the race for the postseason is going to be a blood bath. 

It makes sense why so many trades were made, but who should come away from the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline feeling good about the position they are in? Here are five of the biggest winners from this year’s deadline.

5. Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets accomplished the one goal they had set out to accomplish, which was to trade Eric Gordon. They completed a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies with Gordon heading to the Clippers.

More draft capital was added to their coffers as they took on a salary dump by the Atlanta Hawks and picked up a first-round swap in the Gordon trade. While that will help their rebuild, Houston is a winner because of other deals made.

The Rockets either outright own or have the right to swap first-round picks with the Brooklyn Nets for the next five drafts. They have to be ecstatic about Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving no longer residing in Brooklyn. While Brooklyn is unlikely to tank, no longer being contenders adds a little more value to those draft picks. 

4. Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers desperately needed to make some deals ahead of the deadline to get their season back on track. They began the process by acquiring Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks. That was far from enough as pressure mounted on Rob Pelinka to do something and he responded.

Los Angeles was part of a big three-team deal that included the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz. The Lakers are coming away with D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt, parting ways with Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones. All it cost to move off of Westbrook was one lightly protected first-round pick in 2027.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Los Angeles Lakers Updates

Mo Bama was then acquired from the Orlando Magic in exchange for Patrick Beverley and the team recouped their second-round picks and Davon Reed by sending Thomas Bryant to the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers now have legitimate NBA players throughout their rotation and are a dangerous team no one wants to see if they make the postseason.

3. New York Knicks

The New York Knicks once again stood to their guns as they didn’t unload any of their young core or assets in a short-sighted move. The one trade they made was acquiring Josh Hart from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Cam Reddish and a protected 2023 first-round pick.

While some people believe it was an overpay for Hart, he is a perfect fit for this Knicks rotation. He brings intangibles to the roster and is the kind of glue guy that every winning team has at least one of. His acquisition was a win, but the lack of activity by other teams in the Eastern Conference is really why the Knicks land on this list.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: New York Knicks Updates

With the Nets moving Durant and Irving and the Heat failing to make an upgrade, the Knicks have a golden opportunity to move into the top six. At the very least, keeping their distance from the other Play-In Teams to ensure homecourt should they have to partake in the tournament is a decent consolation prize. But, this team should have its sights set on a playoff spot.

2. LA Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers did a solid job of upgrading specific needs that existed on their roster. Their backcourt has been a bit of a mess this season and they had yet to address the departure of Isaiah Hartenstein. All of those things were addressed ahead of the deadline.

Los Angeles pulled off a shrewd move by acquiring Bones Hyland from the Denver Nuggets for two second-round picks. He provides a scoring punch to the second unit, which will no longer have John Wall and Reggie Jackson. Both were traded, with Wall heading to the Rockets in a three-team deal also involving the Grizzlies and Jackson to the Charlotte Hornets.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: LA Clippers Updates

In those deals, the Clippers landed Eric Gordon from Houston to further bolster their backcourt and wing depth. Mason Plumlee was acquired from the Hornets, giving Tyronn Lue an excellent backup option to Ivica Zubac.

An already strong roster got that much deeper and more well-rounded ahead of the deadline.

1. Phoenix Suns

When you are the team acquiring the best player that was on the move ahead of the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline, you are going to end up in the list of winners. That is exactly what the Suns did, bolstering their championship hopes by acquiring Kevin Durant from the Nets.

Their window to win looked to be dwindling with the current core but is pried open by Durant’s arrival in town. The trade package to acquire him isn’t overly steep either. Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson are good players, but they aren’t near Durant’s level. Jae Crowder wasn’t even playing for the Suns and the four first-round picks likely weren’t going to help the Suns get any closer to winning a title.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Phoenix Suns Updates

This was a no-brainer deal for Phoenix and shows the change of philosophy the team will have under new owner Mat Ishbia. He approved a deal that puts them deeper into the luxury tax than they ever were with Robert Sarver, which is a good sign for fans.

Slightly overlooked, the team is also taking a worthwhile flier on Darius Bazley. He was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade for Dario Saric, offering some 3-and-D versatility on the wing and in the frontcourt.

About Kenneth Teape 3702 Articles
Kenneth Teape is an NBA Reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He covers all things across the league, including both news and editorial work. Make sure to follow Kenneth on Twitter at @teapester725.